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  #81  
Old 09-12-2012, 01:43 PM
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sassafras sassafras is offline
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There is no such thing as purely positive training.

And sorry, but not only does my mentors experience disagree with you, but my own experience as well.

My experience is that there are things that are far faster and easier to teach with aversives or that some people are incapable of training without aversives, not that those things CAN'T be trained without aversives. I don't mean that as a dig, because there are plenty of things I don't have the time, patience, or ability to fiddle around with positively regardless of what type of dog I'm working with. Nor do I really care how someone else chooses to teach them. I don't even care if people don't teach them at all but choose to use management instead.

Having said that, I'm not going to say it CAN'T be done.
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  #82  
Old 09-12-2012, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Barbara! View Post
There is no such thing as purely positive training.

And sorry, but not only does my mentors experience disagree with you, but my own experience as well.
how do you respond to a dog engaging in an undesirable behavior that the dog is enjoying in a 100% positive training program?
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  #83  
Old 09-12-2012, 01:57 PM
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Before 1981 when Dr. Ian Dunbar developed the first Sirius Puppy Class, training wasn't recommended for puppies under 6 months old. The only training methods available at the time involved physical force using training tools such as choke collars, and were considered to be too harsh for young puppies. Dr. Dunbar created the lure/reward method, which opened up an entirely new perspective on dog training in general. With this method, instead of being corrected for wrong behavior, puppies are set up for success by being lured into the desired position then rewarded for achieving the behavior. Unlike traditional dog training, with no force, fear, pain or intimidation inherent in the technique, it was now appropriate for puppies as young as 8 weeks old to begin training classes.

Lure/reward training proved itself to be so effective, efficient, and fun for both owners and dogs that the usage spread to family pet obedience classes for all ages. Eventually it expanded to more specialized areas of dog training, including dog sports, working dog activities and conformation. Clicker training, another reward-based training methodology without the use of corrections, was also developed in this time frame and grew greatly in popularity.

Research presents compelling evidence in favor of reward-based training

Over the last 30 years, animal behaviorists have studied the undesired effects of training with aversives. Dr. Karen Overall, noted veterinary behaviorist, is quite adamant about her views on shock collars and states, "Shock is not training - in the vast majority of cases it meets the criteria for abuse." According to a veterinary study published in 2009 in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior, if you're aggressive to your dog, your dog will be aggressive to you. Meghan Herron, DVM, one of the lead authors of the study, says, "Our study demonstrated that many confrontational training methods, whether staring down dogs, striking them, or intimidating them with physical manipulation, do little to correct improper behavior and can elicit aggressive responses." Dr. Sophia Yin, another well-respected veterinary behaviorist, adds, "Indeed, the use of such confrontational training techniques can provoke fear in the dog and lead to defensively aggressive behavior toward the person administering the aversive action."

Best-selling author and dog behaviorist Jean Donaldson states in her article entitled Modern Dog Training vs. Cesar Millan, "The force-free movement has been partly driven by improved communication from the top. Applied behaviorists, those with advanced degrees in behavior, and veterinary behaviorists, veterinarians who have completed residencies specializing in behavior problems are in greater abundance than in previous decades, and there is much more collaboration between these fields and trainers on the front lines. These two professions are quite unified on the point that the use of physical confrontation and pain is unnecessary, often detrimental and, importantly, unsafe."

Our own Dr. Dunbar says in an article entitled The Trouble with Punishment, "Sadly, many outdated trainers, and hence many owners who have read outdated training books, tend to focus on punishing untrained dogs for getting it wrong, for breaking rules they never knew existed. It is much quicker to teach your puppy the rules of the house - to show him what you want him to do and to reward him for doing it."

Over the years, more trainers are choosing to reward instead of correct, and more owners are becoming aware of the difference and discerning about their choice of a trainer. With such compelling testimony, it should be easy to find a trainer who uses modern, scientifically sound positive reinforcement-based techniques, and those who continue to hang onto the old, outdated methods should be going the way of the dinosaurs, right?

Wrong.

Why dinosaurs still roam the planet

Why would any dog owner or trainer choose to set up a dog as an adversary that needs to be conquered when the goal is to have a companion? Even back in the old days when I took one of my dogs to a class using choke chain corrections, I was having trouble with this concept. I was uncomfortable with having to do unpleasant things to my dog then, when there wasn***8217;t an alternative. Now that there are excellent alternatives, what could possibly be keeping choke, prong, and shock collar manufacturers in business?

In great part I blame Cesar Millan. Using outdated and debunked wolf pack/dominance mythology as his basis, he has gained great popularity playing the part of a dog expert on TV. His whole shtick is about creating drama by wrestling ***8220;dangerous***8221; dogs into submission so that viewers will continue to tune in for the excitement. Even though he himself admits that his techniques are all for show by warning viewers not to try them at home, dog owners and even trainers buy into the illusion. Granted, it would be pretty boring to watch an aggressive dog being treated by slow, systematic desensitization and counter-conditioning, which requires keeping the dog calm at all times to be truly effective. It***8217;s far more exciting to set the poor dog up by throwing him into a situation where he has no choice but to react violently out of fear, and then show our hero saving the day by physically dominating him. Cue music and flashing red lights. Pure and simple, Millan has set dog training back 30 years by making dog abuse sexy. It***8217;s disgusting.

Modern training based on scientific research is fairly new, so another reason we still have force training is because people don***8217;t like to change. It***8217;s human nature to cling to what is familiar to us, and we don***8217;t like to fix what seems to work. Granted, force training does work. You can intimidate any living creature into compliance with the use of fear and pain, which are powerful motivators. So if a trainer has been using prong collars for the last 30 years, he***8217;s going to be heavily invested in justifying his methods anecdotally and tend to scoff at the research that potentially could prick little holes in his belief balloon.

Then there are the people who feel powerful if they can physically dominate another living creature. Let***8217;s just hope that this is the minority of dog owners/trainers who use force methods. And I really wish I could believe that, but I think that attitude is far more prevalent than we would wish.

And, of course, there are just those who have not yet heard the gospel. The literal translation of gospel is "good news," and it's up to us reward-based trainers and behaviorists to educate the public by spreading it. It's very good news indeed that we don't have to hurt or intimidate our dogs into behaving for us!

Choosing the right trainer

Because of the new wave of enlightenment about training techniques, force trainers have to be much more careful with the way they advertise so that they don***8217;t lose potential clients. If you look at these trainers***8217; websites, many of them will not even mention the way that they train or what tools they use. You may have to study the pictures to discern whether or not choke, prong or shock collars are used in their training.

Cute little euphemisms are also getting more popular. For example, shock may be called a ***8220;tap,***8221; ***8220;stim,***8221; or a ***8220;muscle stimulator.***8221; The quick jerk of a choke collar that produces the startling sound in a dog***8217;s ear has always been called a ***8220;pop.***8221; Says Jean Donaldson, ***8220;The force-free movement gains momentum every year and a sure sign of this is that many trainers in the other camps resort to murkier and murkier euphemisms to disguise their more violent practices and retain their market share. Stressed dogs aren't 'shut down,' they're 'calm.' It's not strangling, it's 'leading.'"

Even the terms ***8220;positive reinforcement***8221; and ***8220;dog-friendly***8221; have been hijacked. Many students have reported responding to an ad for a ***8220;dog-friendly***8221; trainer who turned out to require prong collars. If they happen to use treats at all, they may label themselves ***8220;positive reinforcement***8221; trainers. Many of the trainers who throw treats along with using corrections will call themselves ***8220;balanced***8221; or ***8220;eclectic***8221; trainers.

If you want a truly dog friendly trainer or training class that uses modern, scientifically researched positive reinforcement training techniques, you will have to research past the advertisements. Certainly the tools required (choke, prong or shock collars) are a dead giveaway. But there can still be force and coersion used even if these ***8220;training***8221; collars aren***8217;t. Beware of yelling, poking, jabbing, objects being thrown at or near the dog, loud noises used for startling, physically forcing dogs into position, alpha rolls or any kind of pinning, etc. Any reference to the words ***8220;alpha***8221; or ***8220;dominance***8221; should also make you sit up and take notice, as that's a good indication that the trainer is leaning on that nonsensical old myth.

The best way to determine whether or not a training class is right for you and your dog is to ask to sit in on a session. If your trainer won***8217;t allow this, that could be a warning bell. Look for signs of stress in the dogs, such as tails being held low and into the body, mouths tensely shut, avoiding eye contact, crouching. You should see happy, eager, relaxed dogs and people having fun. If you feel uncomfortable with anything that you see, look elsewhere.


The information contained in this document is the property of the author, Leah Roberts and is re-printed with permission.


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  #84  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Pops2 View Post
how do you respond to a dog engaging in an undesirable behavior that the dog is enjoying in a 100% positive training program?
Pops, that post wasn't directed at you. (My last response.) Lol.

And in that case, I wouldn't know. Perhaps you could make something else more desirable and redirect them. Although, my initial reaction would be to make the activity no longer enjoyable.
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  #85  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Doberluv View Post
What do fighting dogs find reinforcing???? Fighting, right? So, if they've already been reinforced in some way for fighting or they're in the middle of a fight, doing what they like to do, you're light years too late in trying to stop that behavior. Of course, fighting dogs isn't something you are trying to avoid altogether, so there is inconsistency. With this or other kinds of fighting behavior, dogs that are selectively bred to fight, training of any kind isn't likely to compensate wholly for that instinct. That's where management comes in. You are managing a situation when you club your dogs when they're fighting. You are not training them.

Yes, it is a fact that all organisms with a brain operate under a basic set of laws of behavior. I will not argue something that is a fact, only something that is a matter of opinion. Positive punishment...adding something that stops a behavior is not the same thing as removing something from the dog that the dog likes. Adding something aversive which is on the harsh side is not needed for any dog to learn new behaviors or to modify behavior.
yeah , but it shows that although neurons are firing they are firing the exact opposite signal of what is "normal" or most common. kind of like masochists pain is NOT aversive, contrary to the way neurons fire in normal people. or people whose nerves don't register pain, the nuerons aren't firing at all. which is kind of the point nuerons all fire (mostly) but what they fire differs between individuals and there is more than 2 possible signals they fire. so NOT every dog is going to be able to learn in the exact same way.
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  #86  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:10 PM
Pops2 Pops2 is offline
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Originally Posted by Barbara! View Post
Pops, that post wasn't directed at you. (My last response.) Lol.

And in that case, I wouldn't know. Perhaps you could make something else more desirable and redirect them. Although, my initial reaction would be to make the activity no longer enjoyable.
although it was crossed wires, you helped show the answer. say the dog is chewing on a shoe, even if ALL you do is take the shoe you have just applied an aversive to correct an undesirable action. it is not inflicting pain, but it is still aversive. so anyone that says you can be 100% positive is either naive or full of BS.
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  #87  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Pops2 View Post
although it was crossed wires, you helped show the answer. say the dog is chewing on a shoe, even if ALL you do is take the shoe you have just applied an aversive to correct an undesirable action. it is not inflicting pain, but it is still aversive. so anyone that says you can be 100% positive is either naive or full of BS.
I agree.
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  #88  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:14 PM
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I dont think anyone said 100% positive. BUT adding punishment is what we are discussing from what I am reading

Taking the shoe away is management. Putting the shoes up, better management.

Teaching the dog what is appropriate to chew, rewarding the correct decisions, that is learning.

Hitting the dog, or collar popping while the chewing the shoe is adding punishment and what is not necessary.
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  #89  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Pops2 View Post
how do you respond to a dog engaging in an undesirable behavior that the dog is enjoying in a 100% positive training program?

You distract, ask for an alternate and incompatible behavior and reinforce that. But that is not enough. You must prevent the dog from engaging in this behavior in the first place when possible so he doesn't have the opportunity to find out how fun it is. You'd have to give me some examples if you want me to answer. I don't know if you do. If the dog, for instance, keeps getting into a certain flower garden and I don't want him there, I supervise when he's outside and before he steps into it, when he's just thinking about it, I ask for some other behavior like come or sit. If he wanted to lie down in there, I show him another place that's just as good or better where he can lie down and reinforce. I also teach "out" or "leave it" to let him know what TO do. I say it in a normal speaking voice. That's for if he's already gotten into it before I noticed.

If the dog lunges at other dogs on a walk and acts rotten, then I use counter conditioning methods and work the dog from a distance where his reaction is milder. I teach him to focus on me or something else and reward. My little Jose` was quite reactive when seeing other dogs. I taught him to keep his eyes on me when he saw a dog. I'd say, "watch me." Now, seeing another dog on a walk IS his cue to look at me and he hardly makes a fuss at all anymore...once in a while. I didn't yank him by the collar or scold him because they can associate the other dog with pain or a fearful, startling time...I don't want that to happen. Also, what if a child were riding his bike right near at the same time the dog is getting his neck pinched? A dog will very often associate something like that with punishment and will thereafter get aggressive with kids on bikes.

With the dog reactivity, I taught him an alternative behavior which he couldn't do while lunging or focusing strongly on another dog. The high value treats were more reinforcing to him than the excitement of yapping at another dog. I worked from some distance at first and gradually decreased the distance. As I decreased the distance, putting more pressure on him, I relaxed the pressure of duration...of him having to look at me for a long time. When he had the ease of more distance, I practiced his duration of eye contact. Now, I don't do much of anything. He sees a dog and then looks at me and trots along without a peep. (Of course, he's not perfect. Sometimes something gets the best of him and I am not terribly particular about it.) I want him to be civilized, but he doesn't have to be perfect. He is not aggressive toward other dogs, just noisy. He usually wants to go visit. But I will get my way first...his eye contact, his calm behavior and also the permission of the other dog owner. Then and only then does he get to go check out the other dog. There's another motivator for him....visiting with the other dog. He gives me behavior I like, then he gets to sniff the other dog or whatever it is they like to do. Positive reinforcement. No intimidation, no pinching, yanking, jerking, scolding, no harshness. Nothing added that is scary or discomforting. Nothing unpleasant that can be paired with the thing we want him to like or behave around. Pairing good things with his environment and his behavior makes him want to behave in the way I'm trying to show him. He works because he wants to. He does not work to avoid something nasty.
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  #90  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Pops2 View Post
although it was crossed wires, you helped show the answer. say the dog is chewing on a shoe, even if ALL you do is take the shoe you have just applied an aversive to correct an undesirable action. it is not inflicting pain, but it is still aversive. so anyone that says you can be 100% positive is either naive or full of BS.
I never said that I never use an aversive. I just avoid using positive punishment. Taking something away from a dog that he likes is not positive punishment. If a dog is chewing on a shoe, I would bring him something equally fun or better, like a flavored chewy and trade him. I take the shoe, you get this. Good boy. And from then on try to prevent access to the shoe in the first place. If the dog is never reinforced for chewing on the shoe, that behavior is unlikely to develop.
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